Yahsat, an aerospace subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-owned Mubadala Development Company, and the NYSE-listed Orbital Sciences Corporation have completed their review of the preliminary design for the Al Yah 3 satellite, destined to provide coverage for 60% of Africa’s population.

The ‘preliminary design review’ or PDR was a comprehensive review that validated Orbital’s design approach to the physical and functional requirements of the spacecraft. The review is the first step toward confirming that the satellite will operate effectively on orbit.

Marcus Vilaça, acting chief technical officer said, “The review is an industry standard process where our engineers confirm the overall architecture of the satellite — a step forward in the development of Al Yah 3 that ensures we are on track to launch as scheduled for Q4 2016.

Once operational, the Al Yah 3 satellite will enable the delivery of the affordable Ka-band high-throughput broadband to over 600 million users, including many in Africa and 95% of Brazil’s population. It is being manufactured at Orbital’s satellite facility in Dulles, Virginia.

Christopher Richmond, Orbital’s Senior Vice President, commented: “Al Yah 3 will be the first hybrid electric propulsion GEOStar-3-based spacecraft to be launched by Orbital. It provides higher power and greater payload capability while maintaining advantageous launch costs.”

Yahsat’s first satellite Y1A was successfully launched in April 2011, while the company’s second satellite Y1B was successfully launched in April 2012.

Yahsat plans Al Yah 3 satellite to extend broadband across Africa